France, May 5, 1918

Dearest Emma; –

Had two letters of yours yesterday those written on the dates April 27 & 28, respectfully. There was no letter from you to day but I drew three in the Canadian mail that arrived, one from my brother one from your sister in Standard and one from my cousin in Toronto.

I am very pleased to know that you are at the Drysdales. The change will make a very welcome break in the monotony of life at the hotel.

Your information regarding the re-opening of leave was entirely incorrect. I shall be very much and agreeably surprised if there is any leave at all during this summer.

So Major Selby is now O.C. 8th Canadian Field Ambulance. I had not heard of it before- What has become of Lt.Col. J.N. Gunn? It is a long time since I have had a chance to see any of the personnel belonging to that unit, not since I joined the ambulance in fact. No, I must confess I never sent an answer to the message you mentioned.

Capt. Petty has been acting adjutant of the 31st Battn for quite a long time, ever since Hornby went to England last summer. Petty is a very fine chap and I should like to have him meet you sometime. He was in London on leave while we were there, last December, but if you remember our program was fairly full in the matter of appointments at that time. Hornby is now a company commander in the battalion. I have not seen him for some months. If the day is fine to morrow I may go out for a horseback ride and call on some of my old friends.

It is fine out to day but I am putting in my spare time during the afternoon writing.

The apple blossoms are very pretty. Our mess hut is built in the middle of an orchard, but by the time the apples are fit to eat we shall be “Over the hills and far away”.

Our padre (The good one) organized a concert party, and last night put on a show which was quite good. The padre himself took part and proved himself quite as artist in the way of an entertainer. He is the second chaplain that I have come across in the B.E.F. that really did good work with the troops. The other was Capt. Appleyard who was chaplain of the 31st Battn. after Walker was sent back to England. Capt. Johnson is a captl man but is one of the kind that practises rather than preaches. He is busy all day and devotes a lot of his time to helping to make the canteen a success and a convenience to the men and patients.

Yes I know Capt. Anderson of Brooks. I met him in Calgary when he was doing Dr. Francis work for a short time and also met him out here with the 8th F. Amb. I quite agree with you.

Oh! I nearly forgot to answer your question re “Canada”. We get it here in the mess but I should be pleased to have a copy for myself if you could send it along after you have quite finished it yourself. I enjoy receiving the copies of “Life” and so does everybody in the mess for that matter.

No, I have never played golf, but it must be a very entrancing sort of a game if one may judge by the enthusiasm of those who play it. I fear that people will have less time to devote to sports and pleasure after the war than was the case a few years ago. Everybody will be kept busy to earn money to pay off the debt caused by the frightful wastage of the war.

My batman took off one of those shirts to a peasant woman in the village with the idea of having it mended. I told him this morning not to go to any such trouble as my shirts were now almost useless even as salvage. I intend to make them do until I go on leave again.

When the warm days come and I am up the line I shall wear a Tommy’s serge over my underwear and thus save money as well and keep cool. That was the way I dressed during the Lens fighting last summer. Of course I wore riding breeches and riding boots too, in case you misunderstand me.

The day before yesterday I got completely caught up with my correspondence but of course now, after the mail to day I have a few more letters to answer.

Your ever loving husband
Harold W. McGill

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Published in: on February 19, 2008 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, April 24, 1918

Dearest Emma;-

I did not have any letter from you to day but had three yesterday, those bearing the dates of April 15, 17, & 18 respectively. I read part of Miss Drewry’s letter, but did not find anything of interest in it so did not go to the end.

You ask me if I am at a C.C.S. or at the Base. No, I am at neither but with my own unit still. We are running a C.R.S. but shall probably be clearing the line again before long. We have had a longer time here as it is now than did any of several preceding units.

It is very dull out to day but is not quite so cold as it was last week. It rained a little in the morning. Yesterday was fine. Some of us had to go to a neighboring village for the purpose of giving evidence in a court martial case and we walked part of the way home. I went to give evidence on behalf of the accused but he was convicted nevertheless. While waiting for the court to reach our case I called around to the Hq. of my cousin’s battalion which was in town. I found the boy in good health and spirits. He has so far escaped any injury.

I have not opened the package containing the ink yet as I am using that which my batman secured. I shall keep the bottle you sent as a general reserve. My stock of notepaper is holding out well as I am writing to scarcely anybody but Margaret and you.

Did I tell you we had two padres attached to our rest station? Yes, we have, one R.C. and one C.E. The latter is a very good chap, one of the best of his kind I have met out here. He is a hard worker and is busy all the time helping to run the canteen, putting on evening concerts, etc. The other man bas been with us nearly a week and I haven’t seen him do anything yet. He may be alright though when he gets started.

I have been reading that book on bridge you sent me. It contains quite a little matter applying to both auction and ordinary bridge and I have been able to pick up several pointers from it.

Yours lovingly

Harold W. McGill

Published in: on February 11, 2008 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment